Being’s believin’


1.5 Stars  1989/84m

“Save the last dance… for hell!”

Director/Writer: James Shyman / Cast: Cindy Maranne, James Carrol Jordan, Joel Von Ornsteiner, Jay Richardson, William Kerr, Queen Kong, Kelle Favara, Jackson Daniels, Vinece Lee, Janice Patterson, Shari Blum, Susan Kaye Deemer, Cynthia Cheston, John Bluto.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “The way you girls shake your bodies all day, what do you expect?”

There are no feminist welders-by-day, dancers-by-night in this bizarre as fuck LA cheapo, which could be played as an intra-office guide about how male employees shouldn’t treat their female counterparts. But this was a product of the 80s, so nobody cared.

A girl with Tiffany-lite hair and lots of day-glo spandex turns up at an old Hollywood theater for a dance audition. Nobody appears to be there so she starts warming up anyway, as we watch a black-cloaked fiend creep around nearby wielding a saw. She does a pirouette and spins throat-first into the saw.

Sexy lady cop Tori Raines busts a couple of bag-lady robbers (one with questionable stick-on eyebrows that he removes in lieu of an intended sexual assault!?), two comic female wrestler-types selling steroids, and lands an undercover gig trying to find out what happens to pirouette-girl and a country singer/dancer who also went to audition and got herself strangled.

slashdance 1989

She masquerades as a dancer practicing for an upcoming revue show and tries to find clues. There’s the famous director, the almost-broke theater owner and his mentally challenged brother (from an era where he was likely just given a script that said “act all spastic” and so this buff young guy eats live goldfish and murmurs a lot with no explanation for his impressive guns). Tori and the other dancers do endless – endless – 5,6,7,8 steps: Step, toe, hip, step, look, turn, heel, step, toe, sass… This takes up approximately 77 minutes of the 84 minute runtime.

In spite of that awesome title, there’s practically zero slash to Slashdance. None of the other dancers are killed at all. Tori meets the killer with like six minutes to go, finds the bodies of the whopping two victims in that same window of time, bests the killer and the film just ends with silent credits.

slashdance 1989

The most interesting facet of the production is how casually chauvinistic it all is: Tori’s fellow detective has left his wife and kids and wants to go out with her. She tells him no, go back to the family. And he just keeps on asking incessantly. Her Captain talks about her being a decent pair of tits and won’t take her seriously because she’s, y’know, a woman – she’s also never dressed in anything but sexy evening wear or her dance garb. Curiously though, given that cover art, there’s no nudity in the movie, just the never ending close ups of thrusting and gyrating pelvises in lycra. It’s like that Eric Prydz video’s mom.

Somewhat wisely opting to (try and) be funny rather than po-faced, the slasher aspects are still very much an afterthought, with a particularly crappy killer, whose identity is obvious, and too many characters who would die in any other film but survive this intact. If you think you can handle it, watch it back to back with 1992’s Last Dance.

Blurbs-of-interest: James Shyman also directed Hollywood’s New Blood; Jay Richardson was in The Newlydeads.

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